All I see is red in a good way in the somewhat beautiful chaos of crowd on the first day of the Year of the Horse in Binondo China Town. I think it was two years ago when I last experienced the Binondo Chinese New Year celebration in Manila. I thought it would great and hope would bring good vibes to welcome this year’s Chinese calendar which coincides with mine, who is also born in the Year of the Horse. So off I go to Manila and met some friends who joined me chase dragons, shop for lucky charms and get some authentic Chinese bite or two.
Drum beats here and there, firecrackers with their ear-piercing sound and the dragons getting lost in the smoke and dancing in circles around the firecrackers. It’s always entertaining to see their choreographed movements as they drive away bad vibes for the new year. They come in different colors and sizes, some with more lions than others. Chasing dragons is one of the spectacles to see during this season and they can just pop out from nowhere.
If you believe in luck, there’s an abundance here, lucky charms that is! While I still believe we are the driver behind our fortune’s wheels, it wouldn’t hurt to get some positive influence as well. There’s a lot of horse figures here, coins, bamboo plants and bracelets. I got myself a 9-eye Dzi bead bracelet, which is believed to bring good wealth and fortune for the Horse-born on the year of the horse. I’m not sure if it would work but there’s nothing to lose by having one.
With Binondo Chinese New Year teeming with people, we only got to eat at one resto, the New Po-Heng Lumpia. I couldn’t complain though as it was cheap and filling and most of all, it was a new year’s treat from the RoadworthyMan himself.
Guan Sheng Fu Zi Temple
We also visited one of the Chinese Temples in the area, particularly the Guan Sheng Fu Zi Temple found at the 3rd floor at one of the buildings in Ongpin. It was interesting to see their rituals here from burning a amount of incense, paper money, dragon candles and even drinking tea. Didn’t stay too long for the afternoon since I have a schedule later that day. I bid farewell to my companions Erick, Rocel and Jet. On my way out of Ongpin, there was a parade ongoing. I didn’t know there were parades like this before. Mayor Erap and Vice Mayor Isko was there. Probably their initiative this year. The parade made it more challenging to get out of China Town but I managed it somehow. Kung Hei Fat Choi! Gong Xi Fa Cai! Happy Chinese New Year!
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.